Future of school building uncertain
TULSA (FOX 23) - The future of the former Barnard Elementary and Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences (TSAS) is uncertain but neighbors hope officials will rebuild.
"In all reality we can't expect anything to quick to happen," said David Preston.
Early Wednesday morning a fire destroyed the historic school.
TSAS students returned to class at the former Sequoyah Elementary site.
The District pulled off an extraordinary transformation at Sequoyah. What were empty classrooms on Wednesday were furnished and ready for the students on Thursday.
Students and teachers will get the day off on Friday and start fresh on Monday.
Families, students and those from the past return to see their school that is now unrecognizable.
“I see sadness of course,” said James Clark,
He was Barnard Elementary class of 1949.
“If you grew up here in your own mind this was a childhood icon,” said Clark.
Neighbors remember more than the building’s charm.
"You could hear in the morning they would say the pledge of allegiance," said David Preston.
He’s lived in the neighborhood since 2001 and now he hears the sounds of the fire trucks and the smell of burned memories.
Fire investigators believe the school is a total loss but Clark believes some of it can be restored.
“We don't know that it is gone," said Clark.
Neighbors are hoping officials will rebuild.
"I would like to think that some of the wall has some integrity left it could be rebuilt,” said Preston. "I think from the people I talked to, it should be a school there."
It was a relief when TSAS moved into Barnard and leased it from Tulsa Public Schools.
The District originally tried to sell the building and neighbors worried it could turn to apartments or a business.
Now they face the unknown again. One thing is certain, students won’t be back anytime soon.
"We probably wouldn't get the chance to get them back here and I feel bad because I was looking forward to having them here," said Preston.
The school is expected to be smoldering for a few more days. Fire fighters are on standby to keep an eye on any hotspots.
They were called Thursday night but it was a false alarm.
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives National Response Team is in Tulsa to assist the Tulsa Fire Department.
They will start canvassing the building to investigate the cause of the fire on Friday.